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Ask a trooper: Weight determines logging truck route

Q: Why must logging trucks travel through downtown Duluth as opposed to going on Interstate 35 and through the tunnels?

A: They can travel on Interstate 35 through the tunnels (or wherever) if they are under the 80,000-pound maximum. The reason they take the other routes is because then they can haul more weight, especially with the agricultural permit. Federal rules prohibit them from being permitted for more than the 80,000 pounds on the interstate. So, it is their choice.

Q: A lady was run over and killed while walking back to her car through a parking lot in Duluth this winter. Are there any laws in Minnesota that govern vehicle speed in the parking lots of malls and stores?

A: After speaking about this with a chief of police friend of mine from another city, and without regard to the case you mentioned, the answer is yes -- and no.

I know our speed laws in Minnesota State Statute 169.14 only apply to roads, streets, highways and alleys (10 mph). Malls and shopping centers are private (mostly) lots and while they can post limits, the enforceability by officers is questionable and perhaps limited.

Some violations are enforceable statewide, such as driving while intoxicated and reckless driving. If an officer observed driving conduct, including excessive speed or other dangerous driving conduct, in those private lots, the driver can be stopped and charged with reckless driving or even DWI if impaired.

If a private entity such as a shopping mall has a city street running through the parking lot, then our speed laws directly apply and would be enforceable. This would be an exception to what we are talking about.

We strongly encourage all drivers to obey all traffic signs no matter where they are because they are there for a reason and it is possible there may be some incurred liability if an incident should occur and the driver is not in compliance with posted signs.

Sgt. Curt S. Mowers is a regional public information officer for the Minnesota State Patrol.